Biking springs to life around Vail Valley |

Biking springs to life around Vail Valley

Lauren Glendenning
NWS Biking DT 5-9-09

We’ve all heard the saying that we come to Vail, Colorado for the winters and stay for the summers.

There’s no doubt that Vail is a ski town ” it’s especially obvious when the mountain closes and we see the place clear out as if a nuclear bomb just hit.

But after a couple of weeks with no snow, many valley locals break out new gear. Some get into rafting, rock climbing or kayaking, but cycling and mountain biking seem to top the list of summer recreation activities in the valley.

For those of us who aren’t decked out in sponsored gear ” waking up at the crack of dawn to see how many miles we can put on the bike before the sun sets ” there are plenty of options around the valley for spring riding, and many of them are right outside your door.

One great spring ride is a journey upvalley ” a ride from Avon into Vail. The ride is mostly uphill, but it’s an uphill beginner and intermediate riders can handle. On a cool day, the breeze is just the right amount of coolant for the sweat you’ll break while pedaling along the paved roads and trails.

A great way to break up the trip is by taking a detour into Minturn. It’s just a few miles out of the way, and once you’re there, you can take a stroll through town. Minturn has several little shops you can browse through, and in about a month, the Minturn Market will set up shop outside behind Chilly Willy’s. The farmers’ market is one of the largest in the area and happens every Saturday throughout the summer.

The ride back from Minturn to the Dowd Junction bike trail is mostly downhill. The winding road doesn’t leave much room for bikers, so you have to be careful. You’ll pick up enough speed to get you to the trail almost effortlessly. The ride toward Vail starts to ascend gradually along the trail, and once you arrive in Intermountain, it gets a little tougher.

As you pedal through West Vail along South Frontage Road, hang a right just before Donovan Park to follow a quiet bike path alongside Gore Creek behind the tennis courts. The trail leads to Cascade Village, where you can then jump back on South Frontage Road to pedal into Lionshead or on into Vail Village.

When Vail Mountain’s snow melts and the bike trails open, those seeking more adventure should hop on the gondola and enjoy a downhill ride along one of many beginner and intermediate bike trails on the mountain, most of which are catwalks during the ski season. After a little food and a stroll around the village, it’s reward time ” the ride back to the Avon area is almost all downhill. It’s not scary downhill, but it’s the kind of downhill ride where you’ll be smiling so wide you might eat a bug or two.

Just remember to keep your mouth closed and enjoy the views of the valley under the warm sunshine ” it’s why we stay here.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

Support Local Journalism